Cover Star Interview
To celebrate Nigerian Independence Day, LootLove hosts an Oshe Naija special on Africa now Radio, celebrating the sounds of Nigeria and the hitmakers behind them. First, Nigerian producer Sarz joins LootLove via FaceTime on Apple Music 1 to talk about his favourite projects, including “Monalisa,” from the EP LV N ATTN, a collaboration with singer-songwriter, Lojay. He also discusses his Oshe Naija playlist, exclusively curated for Apple Music, the southern African sounds inspiring him, and his upcoming solo work.Next, UZ3ZI—one half of the Legendury Beatz sibling production duo—joins LootLove to discuss how they produced Wizkid and Tems’ runaway hit, “Essence,” being mentored by Sarz, how they hope to continue to push Afrobeats globally, and their Oshe Naija playlist, exclusively curated for Apple Music.
The Big 5
This week, LootLove puts the spotlight on the producers behind some of Nigeria’s biggest hits, including Tempoe, LONDON, Shizzi, P.Priime and Rexxie. This weeks’ selection showcases their work, featuring tracks from CKay feat. Joeboy & Kuami Eugene; Rema; Fireboy DML; Olamide feat. Bad Boy Timz; and Rexxie & MohBad.Africa Rising
Nigerian Afro-fusion star Magixx is the latest artist featured from the Africa Rising playlist, a campaign which shines a light on the next generation of African superstars, and this week’s show features two singles from his self-titled EP, “Love Don’t Cost A Dime” and “Like A Movie.” Listen HERE.
Each week, LootLove chooses her favourite track, taken from one of Apple Music’s African playlists. This week she features Nigerian singer, songwriter and rapper Ladipoe, and his single, “Feeling (feat. Buju),” from Apple Music’s Naija Hits playlist. Listen HERE — and find a roundup of all LootLove’s selections on Apple Music’s LootLoves playlist, HERE.Tune in and listen to the full episode this Sunday, October 3rd at 2p Lagos/London / 3p Johannesburg/Paris / 6a LA / 9a NYC on Apple Music 1 at apple.co/_AfricaNow.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON THE RISE OF NIGERIAN MUSIC
I feel amazing. I’ll speak for myself and my brother as well, we are so happy. I think this is a win for Africa in general, you know? I speak to a lot of my friends and, all of a sudden, it’s cool to be African and maybe a decade ago, in diaspora, it wasn’t really that cool to be African. This is almost like a new passport, the whole music and the whole growth of this genre. So yeah, it’s big win for Africa.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON SARZ
He’s an amazing, beautiful, wonderful soul.
When my brother and I started producing, we were like the big thing. Everyone on the block used to talk about us like, “oh, Legendury Beats, these guys, have you heard these guys, they’re hot.” I was with my friend and then he was like, “yeah, you guys are hot but have you heard of Sarz?” And we were like, “who’s that?” And then he took us to Sarz. Sarz heard our beats and he was like, “Uhm, yeah, you guys are okay.” I was like, “are you mad, we’re the hottest thing!” And then he took us to his studio and then we heard his music and we were like, “okay, okay. We have work to do.” So yeah, he’s our friend and as well a mentor, I’ll put it that way. Because he pulled us through, he was already in the industry and then he sort of like put us through the industry.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON THEIR APPLE MUSIC EXCLUSIVE OSHE NAIJA PLAYLIST
It’s just feeling good. At the end of the day, we’re providing a service to our African brothers and sisters, especially for Nigerians because we all go through a lot and the music helps everyone get through the day. If it’s Anthony Joshua, listening to a ‘Ojuelegba’ right before he goes to a boxing match, there is someone listening to music before they go into work or something or just to help them go through. So that’s the whole feeling, you’ll find that song for you that will get you through the day.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON WHETHER THEY KNEW ‘ESSENCE’ WOULD END UP BEING AS BIG AS IT IS
To be honest, yes and no. Yes, because I think we’ve had a synergy with our brother Wiz. We’ve always spoke about taking the sound out to the world, Africa to the world or bringing the world to Africa. I think that sticks in my head when we create, so creatively, we always know that every song has that potential.
But when it was created on that day, no. It just felt like every other amazing tune.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF AFROBEATS
It’s the gospel of Afrobeats. I love the fact that we all are celebrating it and celebrating Nigeria. But the fact is, it’s an African thing, it’s our identity. We as Africans, we’ve been through a lot. And music is our way. You see the culture of Afrobeats, it’s a very happy culture. The music gets us through. So if we can keep spreading this culture to the world, the happiness, that’s what’s next. We’re expanding this way of life.
It’s amazing. I’m not going to lie to you, but that’s the beautiful part of it.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON THEIR POPULARITY AFTER THE SUCCESS OF “ESSENCE”
It started with “Ojuelegba” as well. And then we had these calls and these calls and these calls and these calls and then it went to the J Balvin thing, which is South American…
But with the US, I think there’s just something when you just hit that, the US market, because it’s the big time, it took us a while to realize that, yeah. You don’t know until the calls start coming in.
UZ3ZI FROM LEGENDURY BEATZ ON FUTURE PLANS, PRODUCING FOR HUGE US POPSTARS AND WORKING ON THEIR ALBUM
We are definitely trying to work with the big serious pop artists out there, in America. Talking big, big, big, big, big.
There’s a project on the way. In a way we’ve always thought about the fusion of R&B with Afrobeats. We’ve always had that in our mind. The album was going a certain way, but “Essence” and the whole billboards R&B producers… all of that sort of like took the album. We were like, “You know what, we need to take in this direction now,” so…Yeah. There’s an album on the way, it’s taking a more R&B approach now. It’s quite interesting.
SARZ ON LEGENDURY BEATZ
I’ve known Legendury Beatz for over a decade. Mut4y and his brother UZ3ZI, I’m kind of like a mentor to them. I’ve always been there to help them. We’re literally brothers. I’m just happy that they’re having such a great moment right now with “Essence.” I just want to see people that I know have so much passion and so much love for what they’re do win.
It’s so amazing that things are happening for people that you love and care about. And in general it also helps the Afrobeat community. It just shows that where this came from, ten more will come out from there. It’s just a great time to be alive.
SARZ ON HIS OSHE NAIJA PLAYLIST
It shows you how my mind works and it’s just randomness of different things I like. That’s how my playlists are, it just has a bunch of records from eighties music to classical music to hip hop to R&B.
SARZ ON THE RECEPTION TO THE ‘LV N ATTN’ EP
It’s amazing. It’s just great to see your little project in your hard drive that no one has listened to and you put it out and everyone is just showing you so much love and attention. Literally.
To me I already rinsed the EP before it’s out. I don’t even want to hear it. Now what excites me is how people experience the music. People dance to it, people do routines to it, people have fun with it in the clubs or in public spaces or anything. And I’m just like, wow, that’s what really excites me. Not the music anymore. Because I heard the music a million times before it came out.
SARZ ON WHY HE CHOSE TO MAKE AN EP WITH LOJAY
He didn’t really have that many songs out or anything, he was relatively unknown. And a mutual friend played some of his music to me. And what stood out the most was his tone. He had such a unique tone and I just thought, “yeah I think I can harness this in such a way to make him sound really beautiful with my music,” and once I’m in that head space, I’m just obsessed till I get where I want. So I guess my obsession kind of worked in his favour and that’s how we gave birth to ‘LV N ATTN.’
SARZ ON WHETHER HE’D MAKE AN ENTIRE PROJECT WITH ANOTHER ARTIST
Definitely, I love challenges. So anything that’s challenging for me, count me in. So I will definitely find someone else that I think, “oh wow, I just, I love how you sound, I want to paint my own impression of you”.
SARZ ON ‘MONALISA’ AND HOW AMAPIANO HAS INSPIRED HIM
It’s one of the most amazing sounds. I think I’m one of the first set of Nigerians to catch on the wave. I think I first heard it in 2019 before the pandemic. The first Amapiano song I heard was from Kabza called “Umshove”. And I was like, “what’s this sound, it’s so crazy, it’s so amazing.”
And that’s one thing I’m going to give South Africans credit for, you guys are good innovators. You guys always know how to just bring the craziest drum percussions and put sounds together and everybody is just like, “oh wow what is this?” South Africa inspires the rest of Africa and Nigeria a lot. When it comes to sound, we get inspired a lot by South African music. No lies.
SARZ ON WHAT HE HAS COMING NEXT
Currently I’m working on my album. I want that to be the best project I’ve worked on so far. So you should wait for it. It’s going to be something.